Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Vineyard by Maria Dueñas

THE VINEYARD by María Dueñas

Atria Books |
ISBN: 978-1-5011-2453-2| Price: $26.00 US / $32.00 CAN | Pages: 544 |
eBook: 978-1-5011-2455-6 | On sale date: October 3, 2017

Beloved author María Dueñas returns with her highly anticipated new novel, THE VINEYARD (Atria Books; $26.00; October 3, 2017), a magnificent story of ambition, heartbreak, and desire set in 1860s Mexico, Cuba, and Spain—perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Kristin Hannah.

With the debut of her brilliant first novel, the New York Times bestseller The Time In Between (Atria; 2009), Dueñas was lauded for her descriptive and lyrical narrative and uniquely touching protagonists. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly declared her “a writer to watch,” while El Mundo in her native Spain said, “Dueñas more than lives up to her title as one of the best contemporary authors today.” It was critically and commercially acclaimed in the United States, and was also an international success, selling over two million copies worldwide and inspiring a popular Spanish television series, known in the media as “the Spanish Downton Abbey.” Her second novel, The Heart Has Its Reasons (Atria; 2012), was also well received and became an international bestseller.

María Dueñas is also a writer who has her finger on the pulse of society, with an innate talent for exploring the more personal and intimate issues in life—issues that no matter who we are and what we’ve accomplished— have affected many of us. THE VINEYARD is a powerful story of courage in the face of adversity, and of a destiny forever altered by the force of passion.

Mauro Larrea’s fortune, the result of years of hardship and toil, comes crashing down on the heels of a calamitous event. Swamped by debt and uncertainty, he gambles the last of his money in a daring play that wins him an abandoned house and a vineyard an ocean away. Mauro travels to Andalusia de Jerez in Spain with every intention of selling the property and returning to Mexico. That is, until he meets the unsettling Soledad Montalvo, the wife of a London wine merchant, who bursts into his life unannounced, determined to protect her family’s legacy. Before long, Larrea finds himself immersed in the rich culture of the sherry trade. As his feelings for Soledad ripen into a consuming passion, he seeks to restore the vineyard to its former glory.

From the turbulent young Mexican republic to flourishing Havana, and onward to the fertile vineyards of Jerez in the second half of the nineteenth century, María Dueñas’s new novel takes place on both sides of the Atlantic, the New World and the Old. This story of family intrigue vividly conjures the noise and grit of silver mines, and the earthier lure of ancient vineyards and magnificent cities whose splendor has faded. Using the same resonant voice and skillful narrative style as she did in The Time In Between and The Heart Has Its Reasons, María Dueñas pours heart and soul into THE VINEYARD and creates a vibrant canvas that immerses readers in each locale, and offers a fascinating study in contrasts, contradictions…and second chances.

(All Spotlight content provided by the publisher)


María Dueñas holds a PhD in English philology. After two decades dedicated to academics, she broke onto the literary scene in 2009 with the publication of the New York Times bestselling novel The Time In Between, followed by The Heart Has Its Reasons in 2012. Both novels became international bestsellers and have been translated into 35 languages. The television adaptation of The Time in Between earned critical and international acclaim. The Vineyard is her third novel and is being simultaneously published in Spanish as La Templanza.


Praise for The Vineyard:

“Breezy and entertaining, María Dueñas delivers a good old-fashioned yarn.” —The Washington Post

“An all-encompassing saga of one man’s sacrifice, tragedy, courage and passion. Dueñs builds her tale carefully and sets the stage with lush descriptions of Mexico, Cuba and the glorious vineyards of Andalusia, Spain. It is the pictures that Dueñas paints that draw readers into the heart of her character’s journey through three stages. Heartwrenching yet uplifting, this beautifully rendered story will linger in readers’ minds.” – RT Book Reviews

“this sprawling tale will charm fans of historical romance.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Dueñas capably reveals the grace of second chances, as Larrea’s hard work overcomes a cruel twist of fate. There is despair; there is betrayal; there is romance and triumph. Dueñas’ many fans as well as readers who appreciate well-researched historical fiction will find The Vineyard appealing.” – Booklist


US Giveaway of one ARC galley

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Giveaway ends on October 13, 2017


 

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The Chesapeake Bride by Mariah Stewart plus a US Giveaway and excerpt

  • Title:  The Chesapeake Bride
  • Author:  Mariah Stewart
  • Series:  The Chesapeake Diaries #11
  • Pages:  384
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  August 2017 – Pocket Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes a new chapter in her celebrated Chesapeake Diaries series, featuring her signature “rich characterization, charming setting, and a romance you’ll never forget” (Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author).

Architect Cassidy Logan has sworn off good-looking adventurers. Newly divorced, she’s focused on building ecologically friendly, historically accurate homes on the Chesapeake Bay for her father’s construction company. Traveling to Cannonball Island—where there has been no new construction in nearly one hundred years—Cass is sensitive to the heritage of the island, and has come up with plans so perfect she’s determined to buy a home for herself. Even the fact that Owen Parker—a local who she dismisses as a lightweight and a player—seems to be everywhere isn’t enough to deter her from building her dream house.

Owen Parker is and always has been sinfully handsome and wickedly clever, a magnet for mischief as well as girls. He’s a rolling stone, going and doing whatever appeals to him, from flying a mail plane in Alaska, to working on a cattle ranch in Australia, a shrimp boat in Louisiana, and surfing and diving in Costa Rica. When an old friend offers him a job salvaging a sunken ship on the Chesapeake Bay, Owen gladly accepts. Something’s been telling him it was time to head home to Cannonball Island, and a job is as good an excuse as any. And he’s totally smitten by the pretty architect on the scene, but it seems he’s finally met a woman who’s immune to his charms. Sooner or later, Owen will have to face the reason why he always runs, because this time, leaving just might be harder than staying. (publisher)

My take:  Mariah Stewart takes readers back to the shore in the 11th book of The Chesapeake DiariesThe Chesapeake Bride. In this series Stewart weaves threads of area history, various generations of characters featured in each book – some who possess a sixth sense, and usually an indirect road to romance. We have Cass, a talented architect from Baltimore who is developing homes on Cannonball Island which is where she meets the handsome and adventurous local son, Owen. She immediately recognizes him as a player and not worth her time or heart but her judgement may prove to be hasty and wrong. I liked discovering that these two had substance and experience that motivated their decisions. It also helped when life throws them a curve ball. Yes, things got a little shaky but Mariah Stewart left me happy at the end and looking forward to what happens next in this enjoyable series. Although I’ve only read three of the books in this series I didn’t feel lost picking #11 up. It can easily stand alone.


Praise for The Chesapeake Bride, Book 11 of The Chesapeake Diaries series:

“Stewart succeeds in giving both Owen and Cass a smooth blend of strength and vulnerability, and the setting of this heartwarming romance will draw readers in with its island-life charm.” —Publishers Weekly

Strengths: Noteworthy historical content; Engaging characters; Strong Romance; HEA…Measure of Love: Teaspoon…Mood: Poignant and lighthearted…Why You Should Read this: Definitely will appeal to readers wanting a strong romance. And the genealogy and historical aspects are a perfect addition to a pleasing story!” Heroes and Heartbreakers Women’s Fiction Best Bet for August 2017

“The Chesapeake Bride is a small-town romance which will leave readers wanting more of the charming characters and unforgettable story. I enjoyed this book so much that I am still running some of the scenes through my head, which shows how fantastic the story is. Another great read by an outstanding author. A Recommended Read!” —Romance Junkies, Five Heart Review

“The romance is slow and sweet…the lack of unnecessary melodrama, angst, and over-the-top gestures makes this a refreshing contemporary romance between two adults who act as such.” —Kirkus Reviews

*

Praise for Driftwood Point, Book 10 of The Chesapeake Diaries series:

“This second-chance-at-love romance is gentle and sweet…The colorful friendship between the family matriarchs…charms. Stewart seamlessly checks in with former series protagonists and introduces future romantic pairings without stealing attention from Lisbeth and Alec.” —RT Book Reviews

*

Praise for That Chesapeake Summer, Book 9 of The Chesapeake Diaries series:

“[That Chesapeake Summer] deftly uses the tools of the genre to explore issues of identity, truth, and small town kinship…Stewart offers a strong statement on the power of love and trust, a fitting theme for this big-hearted small town romance.” —Publishers Weekly

“A touching story of self-discovery and homecoming that is sure to warm readers’ hearts…fans are sure to feel right at home in Stewart’s idyllic seaside setting and follow this emotional journey with avid interest.” RT Book Reviews

*

Praise for The Last Chance Matinee, Book 1 of The Hudson Sisters series: 

“The popcorn, the red velvet seats, the glittering Hollywood stars on-screen…I’ve enjoyed all aspects of going to the movies since I was a kid…so when I saw a vintage theater on the cover of this book, I quickly swiped it up…The tale was a sweet reminder of the importance of family. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!” —First for Women magazine, July 2017

“[This] lively, warmhearted series starter will have readers eagerly awaiting the second installment.” —Booklist

“A good read, with a nice blend of mystery, family drama, and romance.” —Library Journal

THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE

11th in The Chesapeake Diaries series

Mariah Stewart

Pocket Books

August 29, 2017

ISBN 9781501154355

$7.99


About the author:

Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories.  A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens.  Visit her website at mariahstewart.com, like her on Facebook at AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram at mariah_stewart_books.

 

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Excerpt from The Chesapeake Bride:

Diary~

I love the changing of the seasons—and I think summer into fall might be a favorite, being as how I relate to the whole “autumn of my years” thing. That’s how I see myself, anyway. If sixty is the new forty, I believe seventy must be the new fifty, eighty the new sixty, and so on. Therefore, I fall into that third quadrant. Don’t try to change my mind or confuse me with facts.

One of the reasons I love this time of the year: the steady influx of tourists into St. Dennis begins to wane. Not that I don’t love our visitors. Why, without them, St. Dennis would have continued to languish and would never have become the Eastern Shore mecca it now is. But there’s something sweet about having your hometown belong to you and yours again, even if it’s just for a while. I know soon enough the holidays will be upon us and many will flock to town for all the beautiful festivities—the Christmas House Tour, the weekend of caroling, the tree lighting at the square on Old St. Mary’s Church Road, Christmas at the Inn (a favorite of mine), and, oh, yes, the shopping! But this little respite between the beginning of September, when the families leave to return their offspring to school, and the holiday madness belongs to us, we old St. Dennis folk who like a little downtime.

Not to say there’s nothing going on here! There are new babies to celebrate and a special wedding on the horizon, one that makes me especially weepy. My dear nephew, Alec, will be marrying his lovely Lisbeth in an event that will be the talk of both St. Dennis and Cannonball Island for a long time to come. I’m not privy to all the details, mind you, but since my daughter, Lucy, is planning the wedding, I’ve heard bits and squeaks of what she has in mind, and it will, no doubt, be perfectly wonderful.

When we were children, Mama told us that when good folks passed, they earned a star in the heavens where they could sit and shine down on all the goings-on here on earth. Our brothers scoffed, but we girls believed her, and so it is that I know my beloved sister, Carole, will be watching happily from her star as her son marries his bride out on the point in just a few more weeks.

Thinking about the point makes me think of all the changes that are coming to Cannonball Island soon. So much, it could make your head spin! For the first time in roughly two hundred years, new dwellings will be going up on what had once been barren land. I heard from one in the know that some of the older homesteads—mostly those that have fallen into ruin or have been abandoned—will be replaced with new versions more suitable to modern living. Some are up in arms about this, but frankly, it’s about time. Those dilapidated old shells offer no shelter and, if anything, detract from the beauty of the island. My good friend Ruby Carter—the island’s matriarch—has given her blessing, and that’s good enough for me. Besides, Alec will be serving as the environmental consultant, so I feel confident that all will be well. The new homes are being designed with the island’s history in mind, so the legacy of those early settlers will be well protected. The architect is a lovely young woman who is serious about this project, so I know, eventually, all will be well. Of course I do.

I know, too, that a certain islander with a “rolling stone” reputation will be finding his rolling days coming to a halt before too long. It will be amusing, to say the least, to see him meet his match. Will he be bested? The smart money’s on the new girl. That’s all I have to say about that.

And so much excitement over all the goings-on at the mouth of the river on the other side of Cannonball Island! Who knew such mysteries lay beneath the water, waiting to be discovered—and now that they have been, well, the flurry of activity these days has my poor old head spinning like an old-fashioned top. I cannot wait to see what they find, and I’m more than happy that one of the principal players is staying at the inn. Not that I’d pry, but if one overhears a snippet of conversation now and then . . . well, let’s just say it’s good to keep informed. Now, how all this is going to affect the construction that was slated to begin in November, well, I suppose everyone will have to wait and see. Could be there will be delays, which will keep the new girl around for a while longer and will keep the rolling stone on his toes.

My, what fun this will be~

Grace ~

 


US Giveaway

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GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

This is for a review copy of Book 10 in the series!

Giveaway ends on September 21st, 2017


NOTE FOR THE NEW YEAR:

Look for Gallery Books’ second installment in Mariah Stewart’s all-new trade original women’s fiction series, The Hudson Sisters, following a trio of reluctant sisters as they set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish—and discover themselves in the process. Book 2, The Sugarhouse Blues, will publish March 2018!


Spotlight/US Giveaway: I Hear She’s a Real Bitch by Jen Agg

All materials in this Spotlight post were provided by the publisher

From Jen Agg, one of Canada’s most influential restauranteurs and a trailblazer in the culinary industry for her takedown of chef “bro” culture, comes the sharp and candid memoir, I HEAR SHE’S A REAL BITCH(Penguin Books Original; September 12, 2017; $17; 9780143132646). Studded with Agg’s frank and often hilarious observations on an industry in which sexism has been normalized, her memoir is more than a story about starting a restaurant: it is a rallying cry for a feminist revolution in the culinary world.

As the title suggests, I HEAR SHE’S A REAL BITCH is a bold, uninhibited memoir of Agg’s growth as a restaurateur, battle to establish herself and her businesses, and the particular difficulties she’s faced as a woman in the industry, including vivid stories about:

  • Agg’s twenty-plus years in the restaurant industry from server to bartender to Toronto restauranteur.
  • The creation of The Black Hoof, which started Canada’s culinary revival and is beloved by star chefs Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsey, and Daniel Boulud.
  • Agg’s commitment to creating an equitable work environment, leading to her creation of the Kitchen Bitches conference, which featured chef Hugh Acheson, Suzanne Barr of Saturday Dinette, Jessica Koslow of L.A.’s SQIRL, Amanda Cohen of New York’s Dirt Candy, and many more.

Years of hard work—and plenty of opportunities to learn from her mistakes—taught Agg how to run a great restaurant that also functions as a business. That hard work pays off here with a memoir equally as distinctive as Agg’s restaurants. Already famous in Canada, this book puts the rest of the world on notice: if you haven’t heard about Jen Agg yet, you soon will.

*  *  *

“A terrific, beautifully written, frank, and funny memoir, and a compelling argument for pulling down the long outdated system of ‘bro’ culture that has dominated the industry since what feels like the beginning of time.” —Anthony Bourdain


About the author:

Jen Agg is the owner of The Black Hoof, which sparked Toronto’s culinary renaissance, Rhum Corner, and the Hoof Cocktail Bar. She is the co-owner of Agrikol (along with Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Régine Chassagne) and the newly opened Grey Gardens (with Mitch Bates of Momofuku Ko).


I HEAR SHE’S A REAL BITCH

by Jen Agg

Penguin Original ▪ $17.00 ▪ On-sale: September 12, 2017 ▪ 9780143132646

ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN EBOOK

You can follow Jen Agg on Twitter at @TheBlackHoof

US Giveaway

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Giveaway ends on September 20, 2017


 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas

Description:

The game is afoot as Charlotte Holmes returns in USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas’s Victorian-set Lady Sherlock series.

Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she’s not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office.

Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half brother.

In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body surfaces where least expected. Charlotte’s investigative prowess is challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he, too, end up as a nameless corpse somewhere in the belly of London?


About the author:

Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed historical romance authors writing today, winning the RITA Award two years running, and appearing on innumerable “Best of the Year” lists, including those of Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Dear Author, and All About Romance. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and sons.


Praise for Sherry Thomas:

“Thomas’s lyrical writing is really the star of the show. There are writers who can tell a great story, and writers who can tell a great story with beauty and artistry. Thomas is in the latter category, and her writing is, quite simply, a cut above.” —All About Romance

“Searing, tender, and filled with passion, her writing is nothing short of a revelation.” —Lisa Kleypas, New York Times bestselling author

“Thomas…has made a name for herself with her exquisite use of language.”—Library Journal


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Best Intentions by Erika Raskin plus US Giveaway

  • Title:  Best Intentions
  • Author:  Erika Raskin
  • Genre:  Mystery
  • Pages:  288
  • Published:  August 2017 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Marti Trailor is a mother of three, a New York congressman’s daughter, and wife to a successful obstetrician. Tired of playing the dutiful stay-at-home mom, she jumps at the opportunity to return to her stalled career as a hospital social worker. The catch? The job is at the same hospital where her husband works, and the doctor is not so keen.

As Marti gets enmeshed in the world of the hospital—long hours, overworked doctors, entrenched and dangerous politics—she witnesses something that she cannot unsee. Marti takes it upon herself to do the right thing. But the right thing comes with unintended consequences, and before she even has time to plead innocence, Marti finds herself thrust under a dangerous spotlight.

Peeling back the layers of one woman’s precipitous journey from stay-at-home mom to murder trial defendant, Best Intentions is Erika Raskin’s sophomore gem, a domestic mystery set against a captivating emotional backdrop. (publisher)

My take:  Marti is the beleaguered wife of a successful doctor in Richmond. She is almost single-handedly raising their three children and is getting kind of fed up with the whole deal. When she’s offered a job in her chosen profession of social worker at the same hospital where her husband works, she grabs it. He’s less than thrilled but knows better than to try to change her decision. When something happens at the hospital to one of Marti’s clients her life is turned upside down and she finds herself facing a murder charge.

I thought this whodunit was okay but I had a few quibbles:  pacing – it didn’t take off for me until almost half-way in; Marti’s snarky (mostly) inner dialogue got old fast; there are a lot of stereotypes in this novel. Even though I had a good idea of what happened I wanted to see how Erika Raskin wrapped it all up – and I thought she did a decent job. Fans of a mysteries that involve hospital politics, social work, and the law might want to give Best Intentions a try.


About the author:

Erika Raskin’s debut novel, Close, was nominated for a Teen Choice Book of the Year award. Her work has appeared on public radio and publications including The Washington Post, Salon, and Washingtonian Magazine. She was a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and a panelist at the Virginia Festival of the Book.


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Giveaway ends August 23, 2017


US Giveaway (galley copy): Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

I’ll be reading this novel in the fall and will be part of a blog tour at that time. The publisher has made available a review galley for a lucky US reader now!  The following content was provided by the publisher:

*

A week is a long time to spend with your family.

Now imagine being quarantined with them over Christmas.

 

That’s the delicious premise in SEVEN DAYS OF US, about a dysfunctional British family forced into quarantine together. Eldest daughter Olivia, a doctor, has just returned from treating a life-threatening virus in Africa and must spend seven days in quarantine. Her family, forced into lockdown with her, decides to spend the week in their crumbling and isolated country manor, Weyfield Hall. Each arrives carrying secrets and simmering resentments.

With the Birch family under one roof for the first time in years, keeping secrets is no longer an option. And when a shocking, unexpected visitor arrives, the family’s pressurized state will boil over, spilling problems—and possibly the deadly virus—outside the gates of Weyfield Hall.

In residence with Olivia are her unabashedly frivolous younger sister Phoebe, fixated on her upcoming wedding; father Andrew, sequestered in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and longing for his glory days as a war correspondent; and sweet bumbling matriarch Emma, who’s hiding a secret that will turn the whole family upside down. Anyone who loves their family—in small doses—will relate to the inner thoughts of each character.


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Giveaway ends on August 21, 2017


Spotlight/US Giveaway: The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb

About:  Haunting and atmospheric, The End of Temperance Dare is another thrilling page-turner from the author reviewers are calling the Queen of the Northern Gothic.

When Eleanor Harper becomes the director of a renowned artists’ retreat, she knows nothing of Cliffside Manor’s dark past as a tuberculosis sanatorium, a “waiting room for death.” After years of covering murder and violence as a crime reporter, Eleanor hopes that being around artists and writers in this new job will be a peaceful retreat for her as much as for them.

But from her first fog-filled moments on the manor’s grounds, Eleanor is seized by a sense of impending doom and realizes there’s more to the institution than its reputation of being a haven for creativity. After the arrival of the new fellows―including the intriguing, handsome photographer Richard Banks―she begins to suspect that her predecessor chose the group with a dangerous purpose in mind. As the chilling mysteries of Cliffside Manor unravel and the eerie sins of the past are exposed, Eleanor must fight to save the fellows—and herself—from sinister forces. (publisher)


Praise for THE END OF TEMPERANCE DARE:

“[In] this solid supernatural thriller…Webb succeeds in escalating suspense while keeping her story grounded, but goes full-on Exorcist for the finale.” Publishers Weekly

“Webb’s (The Vanishing, 2014) fourth novel is a high-energy ride peppered with just the right amount of romance seeking, coffee drinking, and wine sipping.” Booklist

“Wendy Webb is a pro at providing all the trappings of a good Gothic mystery.…A fun read.” —Criminal Element

“Chilling…” Gumshoe Review


About the author:  Wendy Webb knew from the minute she read A Wrinkle in Time at age eleven that she was destined to be a writer. After two decades as a journalist, writing for varied publications including USA Today, the Huffington Post, the Star Tribune, Midwest Living, and others, Wendy wrote her first novel, The Tale of Halcyon Crane. When it won the 2011 Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction, she started writing fiction full-time. Her second and third novels, The Fate of Mercy Alban and The Vanishing, established her as a leading suspense novelist, who reviewers are calling the Queen of the Northern Gothic. She lives in Minneapolis with her part-time dog, Zeus, and is at work on her next novel. Visit her online at http://www.wendykwebb.com and on Facebook and Instagram as wendywebbauthor.


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Giveaway ends on August 16, 2017